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Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous Highlights Cutting-Edge Innovations in Sustainability

Photo Credits: https://sustainablesmartmarina.com/

The recent Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous underscored the importance of environmentally conscious marinas and nautical tourism in the pursuit of sustainable tourism. The event aimed to bring together the latest sustainability innovations and was organized by Monaco Marina Management (M3), a company dedicated to the development, management, and promotion of marinas and yacht clubs.

Held at the prestigious Yacht Club de Monaco, this conference drew participants from diverse backgrounds, including approximately 50 startup and scaleup companies, 20 marinas, architects representing 26 countries, as well as financiers and political representatives. The event served as a platform for networking and collaboration among key stakeholders in the marina industry, all united by a common goal: advancing responsible tourism.

Linos Voskarides, Policy Officer for Maritime Policy and Blue Growth at the European Commission, emphasized the significance of sustainable nautical tourism in safeguarding our marine ecosystems. He proposed an integrated approach, stating, “Our idea is to make sustainable marinas an integral part of the city rather than isolating them from urban life. Sustainable nautical tourism and the responsible development of marinas are crucial to ensuring the protection of our marine ecosystems and preserving our coastlines for future generations.”

Alessandra Priante, the director of the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) Regional Department for Europe, compared yachting to a circular economy, emphasizing the importance of marinas as the starting point for sustainable practices. She stressed that a comprehensive, 360-degree perspective is essential for devising successful sustainability strategies, asserting, “The marina is a bit like an airport: it all starts from there, from the arrival, and from how the marina is able to involve the entire territory in which it is located. The more there is a 360-degree vision, the more successful it is to find winning strategies because sustainability must materialize in a series of actions.”

Priante pointed out that even before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, concerns about tourism overcrowding were prevalent. She reiterated the importance of implementing sustainable strategies and shared observations from the post-pandemic recovery, highlighting that destinations and marinas with pre-existing sustainability approaches fared better. Conversely, those lacking such efforts found themselves facing the same challenges as in 2019.

Saudi Arabia is taking proactive measures to become a leader in the sector. Prince Saud Bin Turki Al Saud, the general manager of the Saudi Red Sea Authority, explained their commitment, saying, “In our country, we are starting to lay the first bricks. Fifteen, 10, or even five years ago, we had no activities or forms of tourism linked to marinas, so we are taking the first steps in this direction. Precisely because we are at the beginning, however, we will immediately include sustainability and environmental protection in our regulations.”

Egypt, too, is translating insights from the conference into practical applications. Rear Admiral Reda Ahmed Ismail, the head of the maritime transport sector of Egypt, emphasized the importance of this gathering, stating, “This meeting allows us to become aware of the ideas of the sector and therefore to develop our marinas in order to make them smarter and more ecological in the future. Egypt has worked hard to welcome all those who visit the country by sea on cruise ships or yachts.”

As part of the conference, the International Smart & Sustainable Marina Awards will be presented across three categories: Startups & Scaleups, Marinas, and Architects. The jury, chaired by renowned French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, will evaluate numerous proposals. In addition to this year’s awards, an ideas competition is underway to inspire architects and students to create waterfront projects that combine attractiveness, functionality, and sustainability.

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